It had to come; Apple’s video iPod has been unchallenged in the marketplace for nearly two months now. Step forward Creative with its first serious challenger.
The Zen Vision:M is its name and visually it looks like the lovechild of a Zen Micro Photo and a video iPod. The controls, with the now familiar vertical scroll pad, elegantly modernise the Micro Photo and do I really need to explain the iPod influences? Thought not.
Like Apple’s newest baby, the Vision:M comes with a 2.5in, 252k, 320 x 240 res screen and a 30GB hard drive. It has an almost identical footprint (104 x 62mm to 104 x 61mm), but is a fair bit chunkier (19mm to 11mm) and heavier (136g to 166g). In fact, the Vision:M is actually heftier than a 60GB iPod (104 x 61 x 14mm and 157g).
The Vision:M does have an ace up its pocket though and that is far better video battery life. Many were disappointed with the iPod’s two hours, barely long enough to show an average movie (had the hobbits even left Hobbiton by that stage?) and the Vision:M doubles this to a far more satisfying four hours. As for music, it is an iPod equalling 14 hours.
An FM tuner and voice recorder are also present (always frustrating omissions from Apple) and video format support is wide, including Mpeg4, WMV, Motion Jpeg, DivX and Xvid. Outlook calendars and To Do lists are supported too.
So, extra functionality and stamina verses extra bulk. Visually there’s little to choose between them (I can already feel the ground shaking as hordes of Apple lawyers – all dressed in white – charge the Creative offices), but it does cost more ($299 to $330) so the choice, as ever, is yours. I say Apple calls off the troops, after all it swiped the nano name from Creative, so they’re even.
I can hear the Creative team’s defence right now: “But it also comes in Green…”